People with Parkinson’s will experience slower movement, tremors or shaking and stiffness – these are known as motor symptoms. There are other non-motor symptoms such as pain, tiredness and depression.
They can also find it difficult to chew and swallow food and liquid due to the muscles in their face and jaw becoming weak.
Dysphagia and Parkinson’s Disease
Having less control over facial muscles and the tongue can make chewing and swallowing difficult – a condition known as dysphagia.
Not being able to chew or swallow properly can result in pieces of food being left behind in the mouth and dropping to the back of the throat when a person isn’t ready for it which can result in coughing or choking.
The tongue also plays an important role in moving food around the mouth as a person chews and pushes it to the back of the throat triggering the swallow reflex.
Parkinson’s can also affect the muscles that carry food down to your stomach which may mean a person with Parkinson’s eats more slowly.
It’s important to ensure that people living with Parkinson’s have a good diet, and are getting a good balance of food groups, to avoid further complications due to malnutrition.